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Old 03-22-2012, 11:36 AM   #1
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Water test questions

I have been testing with an API kit. I just wanted to verify my assumptions. I have 2 tanks. One is fish less and one is a fish in cycle.

Today the fish less cycle (20 gallon cycling for about 1 1/2 weeks with seeded media) tested at:
Ammonia 4
Nitrates 20
Nitrites .5
pH 8.2

I am planning on holding off any water changes unless the Nitrates go above 20 or the Ammonia falls too low.

My fish in cycle (6 neon tetras, 29 gallons cycling for about 3 1/2 weeks) tested at:
Ammonia: between 0 and .25 so we are just calling it .125
Nitrates 10
Nitrites 0
pH 8

Due for a water change today and I will add 2 more neons to finish the school.

I also tested our tap water:
Ammonia .25
Nitrates 5
Nitrites 0
pH 7.4
(this is from the faucet I am assuming the outside water isn't any difference but let me know if it may test differently)

So this is what I am getting from that.
1. Our tap has ammonia but if our tanks can handle it it isn't a problem.
2. Nitrates in our tap. YAY!
3. No Nitrites YAY!

I assume that any nitrates in our tap is a good thing and won't hurt the tank. The ammonia shouldn't hurt but I will need to take the Nitrates into account when reading my tanks. But if I have 5ppm Nitrates in my tap and my tank reads 10ppm is that still high enough for the tank?

Any help appreciated. In the future I will cycle one tank at a time

Jana
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Old 03-22-2012, 11:45 AM   #2
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I'm confused. If you're using seeded media in the one tank, that itself would pretty much cycle the tank. Are you also adding ammonia?

Please do not add more fish until your tank (fish in) is cycled.
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Old 03-22-2012, 11:51 AM   #3
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Sorry added seeded media to fish in and fish less both. But that didn't cycle it completely. We added ammonia to the fish less.

I was told since the 6 neons were a small bioload that it would be ok to add 2 more. We have never tested for nitrites in this tank and the water is testing at nearly 0 ammonia for 2 or 3 days. Nitrates are present.

I'm mostly curious about how the readings in the tap water affect the readings in the tanks (if at all).
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Old 03-22-2012, 01:03 PM   #4
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My tap water tests for 5 nitrates as well but no ammonia. 5 ppm of Nitrates is more or less negligible. I wouldn't say it is either good or bad. I'm confused by what you mean if 10ppm is good enough for your tank? A reading of 10 Nitrates is not dangerous for fish, however Nitrates are not good for fish, and if your tank is reading 10ppm and your tap only tests 5ppm I'd say that your biological filter is beginning to work, although you need to be careful when testing for nitrates and follow the instructions of the test to the letter.
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Old 03-22-2012, 01:54 PM   #5
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so to answer your questions - pretty sure the outside water is the same as the inside water as far as ammonia and everything goes. remember that when you are doing water changes it is important to temp match your water so I would highly recommend using your inside water so you can adjust the hot and cold to match your tank.

my tap has ammonia and nitrates in it as well. just ignor that for now. your tank will be able to handle your ammonia from your tank. looks like it is working just fine in your fish in cycle and it will do the same in the fishless cycle. as far as the nitrates go - change your water weekly with a 50% WC regardless of what your nitrates say. if they are too high you may need to do more frequent water changes - maybe every 5 days? or twice a week? what you want is to keep you nitrates down. the fact that you have some in your tap is just what it is. the real question is how high does your tank get in 7 days? but... either way weekly watere changes of 50%

ok, so one question here. on your fish in cycle - have you already seen your nitrites and then they have gone to 0? or are you still waiting to see them?

looks like you are doing pretty well.
on the fishless cycle you do not need to do a water change until you are done OR your PH drops OR you need to get your nitrItes down after they have been super high for several weeks. Keep adding your ammonia to this tank when it drops to 2ppm to get it back up to 4ppm. you can top of the tank if needed with conditioned water whenever needed though
make sense?
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Old 03-22-2012, 02:08 PM   #6
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So if my tap is 5 and my tank reads 10 do I say the tank is 10-5 or just assume the tank will be 10 regardless because of the biofilter?

Good point. I don't actually refill with outside water because of the temperature matching. That didn't even occur to me. Thanks for pointing it out! I empty with the outside house because our inside faucet doesn't have enough water pressure to create a vacuum.

I will start to change the water weekly for sure after we are cycling. Right now I am leaving the fish less alone unless it needs something and the fish in is at an every other day till it reads 0 ammonia for a while. Can I start going every 2 days as long as the tests are in line?

We didn't really see nitrites in the fish in cycle. I had one day where I though the blue (0 reading) was a little more purple than usual but couldn't tell if it was just wishful thinking or really more purple . That is it. We did seed it another poster thought we could have skipped it with the smaller load. So I dunno if I am waiting to see them or not.

Thanks for the help!
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Old 03-22-2012, 02:21 PM   #7
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it would be my guess you are going to see those nitrites in you fish in cyle then. keep an eye out for them. yes, you can go to an every other day water change on you tank if you are seeing 0 ammonia. as a matter of fact... test daily and if you see 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites then you don't need to do ANY water changes - just weekly 50%. but... since you didn't see those nitrites yet I would keep an eye out for them. check your nitrAtes weekly before you do your big 50% WC and see what you are getting. if your test reads 10 then you are at 10 regardless of what is in your tap. all the nitrates in your tap means is that you will find it hard to get your nitrates below 5ppm but that does not mean that you should not try and keep them as low as possible. just know that they are not going to be below 5ppm (unless you got some plants in there maybe)

oh and on your water changes - once you get that syphon thing going you probably don't need to keep running the water. I just stick my house out the front door and let it drain - it is down the steps a little, but all you need is gravity to pull the water out. once it is going it will keep going.
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